Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass

Today, we're reviewing "Crown of Midnight," by Sarah J. Maas, the sequel to "Throne of Glass" and a book we've been eagerly awaiting forever. Every time I look at the book, I have to resist the urge to rub my hands together and let out an evil laugh. This is a fantasy epic about an empire called Adarlan and centers around Celaena Sardothien, the best assassin in the empire and the main protagonist.

So, the cover: there's a lot to like about this cover. A girl wielding two sword, and fiery colors. I really don't think the colors suit the book. And Celaena looks a bit like a guy...

And now to the good part. . . the characters: Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan's Assassin and now King's Champion - I absolutely love her. She's really arrogant and has a very short temper, she's too stubborn to listen to certain people trying to protect her, she's too curious for her own good, and she's brave, strong-willed, and can kill anyone she wants to. In this book, Celaena showed a ruthless side to her that's dark and frightening, and she also showed an inherently good side to her. Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard, improved a lot too. Obviously, he doesn't try to be broody and might not even be aware of it. He has a sense of humor that's different from Celaena's dry, sarcastic wit. And he's in a very hard position as to where his loyalties lie, and he seriously needed a hug towards the end. (It's okay we offer free hugs.) As for Dorian, Crown Prince of Adarlan, one of the twists about him didn't really surprise me, because there was a lot of foreshadowing leading up to it. And he grew, too: "So Dorian closed his eyes, and took another long breath. And when he opened his eyes, he let her go." These three characters, although the main ones, aren't the only ones that were written this well. Nehemia, Archer, even Ress. The writing of these characters exceeds that of almost every other book I've ever read, even those I love just for the characters, because I can imagine Celaena and Dorian and Chaol in our world, as real people.

Normally, for me, one element of the story is the best part, but I have to say, I enjoyed the plot as much as the characters. At the beginning of the book, it was ordinary, engaging Sarah J. Maas writing. Then, as the book progressed, there were plot twists and secrets and things we knew and things we didn't know, but they were so enthralling. Another writer with the same idea could easily have written it to be unmoving. The last half of the book, though, is what made me absolutely love it. Especially the ending. . . I suspected what Celaena told Chaol, but I didn't think it would actually happen. It was more of a fantasy formed by the slight foreshadowing. And then a certain something happened, and I never expected it, and I'm dying to know how it's carried out. When I finished the book, I wanted to scream.

I understand now how this is a fantasy epic and not just a fantasy. The next book will definitely be very interesting: "And she didn't know how she would do it, or how long it would take, but she would see it through. Because it was time."

Recommended for fans of Kristin Cashore's "Graceling" and "Fire." If you haven't read "Throne of Glass," read it. And then read "Crown of Midnight." Because this is one of those rare occasions where the second book surpasses the first by leaps and bounds. I finished it in one day, staying up until 2:00, and it was worth it.

This book earns the rare and well-deserved 4 stars.